Motion to dismiss, suspend Hillbroom’s lawsuit denied


Junior Larry Hillbroom’s lawsuit against two of his former lawyers that was first filed in 2009 will likely go to trial after the U.S. District Court for the NMI denied yesterday two motions filed by the lawyers.

Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona denied Vietnam-based lawyer Barry J. Israel’s motion to dismiss Hillbroom’s lawsuit, and also denied Guam lawyer David J. Lujan’s motion to suspend proceeding in the lawsuit.

Israel cited the court’s lack of jurisdiction in his motion, while Lujan cited Hillbroom as a fugitive.

Manglona said a written decision would be forthcoming.

Not everything is settled, though. There will still be a hearing on Israel’s motion for summary judgment, or alternatively, partial judgment on Oct. 10, 2019.

At yesterday’s hearing, Israel and his counsel, Theodore Frank, appeared. Lujan and Hillbroom’s former trustee, Keith Waibel, represented themselves.

Attorneys Rachel Dimitruk, Nelson Werner, and Mark Hanson appeared on behalf of Hillbroom.

All parties, except for Hanson, appeared telephonically.

In Israel’s motion to dismiss, Frank argued that the District Court should dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction because discovery has concluded that Hillbroom has failed to produce any evidence of extrinsic fraud—the purported basis for jurisdiction in this case.

Frank said that Waibel, with the help of his subsequent lawyers, concocted false allegations of extrinsic fraud against Israel and Lujan.

In Lujan’s motion to suspend the proceedings, Lujan asserted that the Palau Court had issued a warrant for Hillbroom’s arrest in January 2019. He said Hillbroom is a fugitive from the courts of Palau as he has willfully defied the warrant by refusing to surrender and shows no intention to surrender to authorities any time soon.

Lujan asked the federal court to suspend all proceedings in the case, pending the court’s determination of the applicability of the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine. That means, Lujan said, that Hillbroom cannot pursue his complaint while he is a fugitive from Palau courts.

Hillbroom is suing Israel and Lujan for allegedly conspiring with Waibel to inflate their contingency fee when the fortune of the late DHL Worldwide Express co-founder Larry Hillblom was still undergoing probate proceedings in the Superior Court. Israel and Lujan have denied the allegations.

Hillbroom is one of the four DNA-proven children of Hillblom. His name is spelled differently from that of Hillblom.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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